with Bill Webb
Bill Webb Feed Solutions
Generally, this summer has been much better than the last.
There has been a lot more scattered showers depending where you are – just enough to keep things green. So, many people are still feeding out but most farmers are on once a day milking but hope to milk through to the end of May with feeding maize silage.
The weather has stayed reasonably mild and the grass is growing slowly.
Good news for all
The payout is looking really good with Fonterra’s new prediction, going from $6.90 to $7.50 for this season and with some economists and banks suggesting a $7.20 to $7.30 opening forecast for next season is a really good position for farmers for next season.
That’s good news for everyone, because when the farmers have money, they can spend on maintenance, seed and fertiliser etc.
When farmers are struggling, so are the suppliers – it’s a twofold situation.
While Covid-19 is still causing problems for Auckland, we have been very lucky out here in the rest of the country.
A lot of businesses I’ve spoken to have never been so busy, and that really is thanks to the dairy and horticulture industry. The latter is especially true here in the Bay of Plenty – land is constantly being put aside for new orchards and structures.
When the backbone of the country does well, everyone gets a piece of the pie.
Plenty of feed
Supplementary feed sales are slower than they were last year because there’s a lot of feed around. Lots of silage has been cut in and around the Waikato, and there’s not much additional maize purchasing going on.
But the grain market is finally up this year, so the grain guys will hopefully make a good profit.
The beef schedule is still down a bit, but that’s typical for this time of year.
Now, farmers need to remain aware of the environmental rule changes that are coming up, particularly in regards to water regulations and feeding out forage crops in winter.
Keep planting those wet and boggy areas out in plants like flaxes and native trees, and keep those areas fenced off to keep stock off them. Filtering the water going into our streams is important, as clean waterways benefit everyone.
Pasture renovations underway
Everybody should be well into their pasture renovation by now and getting their seed in before the end of April, because the later into April you leave it, the less likely you are to be grazing before spring.
Every week into April means an extra three weeks at the other end – it’s a three to one ratio.
If it stays very mild or we get good rain then that won’t be the case, but it certainly will be if it’s an average year that turns cold in May.
Then only the weeds will grow – so there will be no grass to graze, but weeds to spray.
This month, keep monitoring those new pastures for weeds, and keep doing follow up sprays to keep them under control.
After that first graze put some nitrogen on just to keep that rye grass going until the clover starts, and get it established well before winter.
Keep monitoring brassica crops, Lucerne and new pasture for army caterpillar as they can take out a lot of crop in a short time so may need to be sprayed with an appropriate insecticide.
And finally, stick to your pasture plan. Proper planning prevents pitiful performance.
We have some excellent milking quality grass silage bales available along with meadow hay and barley straw. Call us for a quote and make sure you have plenty of feed for winter.